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June 10th, 2015 by

Scam red words money background - 6 Ways To Recognise A Money Scam By Nic Bowen

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers are constantly taking advantage of those looking to make fast, easy money. Pyramid schemes, emails offering expensive merchandise at discounted rates and Ponzi schemes are all examples of fraudsters presenting unrealistic monetary returns on smaller investments. Often the victims of these scams will willing give their money to the criminals in the hopes of making some quick money.
  2. Be wary of where you submit your personal details online. There are many different online scams whereby criminals going about different means of obtaining your personal information such as your credit card details. In 2012 fraudsters used the popular business promotion site Woza Online to scrape credit card information from its users by posing as legitimate potential clients.
  3. Do not provide your details over the phone. Often scammers would have acquired your phone number and then proceed to call you posing as banks, mobile data providers or tax collectors. You will then be told that you have outstanding payments or that you have money owed to you, and you are asked to confirm banking details to finalise these payments. Remember that a bank will never ask you to provide any details over the phone, rather they will request a meeting at the bank itself.
  4. Be wary of Phishing schemes. This scheme is similar to being scammed over the phone, expect criminals use spam emails to steal your bank account details. You will receive an email from an individual claiming to be working for a large bank, such as Nedbank or Standard Bank, asking you to confirm your banking details. Often these emails will contain official letterheads and other information pertaining to the specific bank. Always remember that a bank will never ask you to provide any information through an email. Smishing is the SMS version of the phishing scheme whereby criminals attempt to steal your information by sending fake SMSes claiming to be from a bank.
  5. Unknown cellphone subscription services. This scheme is carried out through obtaining your cellphone number and billing you for unwanted subscription fees. This starts when scammers set up fake mobile sites which then record your contact number should you use a mobile phone to access the site. Remember that scammers only require your cellphone number to bill you for these fake services, so be sure to check your monthly billing account for any suspicious charges.
  6. Credit card cloning. This is a scam that has become increasingly popular with criminals all around the world. Fraudsters use a device similar to those found on point-of-sale card machines to capture and clone credit card information. These devices are fitted into ATM machines and are extremely difficult to detect. Always be sure to protect your PIN code when entering it at any point-of-sale device, and if you suspect you are the victim of credit card cloning contact your bank immediately and have your credit card disabled before it can be used.


In order to avoid being scammed, South Africans need to remain vigilant and be wary of any person requesting any kind of personal information. Fraudsters will almost always pose as legitimate institutions such as banks, stores, insurance firms or a mobile service providers. Remember to only ever give out personal information in person and only on official documentation and never over the phone, through email or via SMS.